Night Of The Living Dead director George Romero,
Night Of The Living Dead director George Romero has died at the age of 77.
Romero passed away following a battle with lung cancer, his family said in a statement provided by his manager Chris Roe.
Romero’s family said he died while listening to the score of The Quiet Man, one of his favourite films, with his wife, Suzanne Desrocher, and daughter, Tina Romero, by his side.
Romero is credited with reinventing the movie zombie with his directorial debut, the 1968 cult classic Night Of The Living Dead.
The movie set the rules imitators lived by: zombies move slowly, lust for human flesh and can only be killed when shot in the head. If a zombie bites a human, the person dies and returns as a zombie.
Romero’s zombies, however, were always more than mere cannibals. They were metaphors for conformity, racism, mall culture, militarism, class differences and other social ills.
“The zombies, they could be anything,” Romero told the Associated Press in 2008. “They could be an avalanche, they could be a hurricane. It’s a disaster out there. The stories are about how people fail to respond in the proper way. They fail to address it. They keep trying to stick where they are, instead of recognising maybe this is too big for us to try to maintain. That’s the part of it that I’ve always enjoyed.”
Night Of The Living Dead, made for about $100,000, featured flesh-hungry ghouls trying to feast on humans holed up in a Pennsylvania house. In 1999, the Library of Congress inducted the black-and-white masterpiece into the National Registry of Films.
Romero’s death was immediately felt across a wide spectrum of horror fans and film-makers.
Stephen King called him his favourite collaborator and said: “There will never be another like you.”
Romero’s influence could be seen across decades of American movies, from John Carpenter to Jordan Peele, the Get Out film-maker.
Many considered Night Of The Living Dead to be a critique on racism in America. The sole black character survives the zombies, but he is fatally shot by rescuers.
When Edgar Wright made 2004’s Shaun Of The Dead,” he acknowledged, “What we now think of as zombies are Romero zombies.”
George Romero is credited with reinventing the movie zombie.